Please allow me to introduce you to my friend, trouble.
So about 9 months back a mate of mine from Germany visited Melbourne (and Jess, this story is about to make your day). Near the end of her time we spent a day hanging out in Fitzroy – not my usual hood – and had one of those ‘ah, just one beer sure’ that turns into several pitchers kind of nights. It was one of those nights where the conversation comes easy, and one of the recurring topics was regarding a beautiful man that worked there, and the hilarious face Jess would pull whenever he walked by.
I can’t remember now whether we just left, and I later cursed not getting up the courage to go ‘aw, fuck it’ and ask if he was straight(ish)/single or if I WAS actually going to and then couldn’t find him. . .but the beautiful man with the eye-catching forearms went un-asked-out. And I promised Jess that, should I come back and see him again, I WOULD go through with it.
It was inevitable. I’ve been out bush for over 5 months so I have 5 months of humorous/thought-provoking/heart-warming shared links/comics/videos to catch up on. And if I ever claimed to not have a (very strong) streak of meme dork going through me I’d be lying through my goddamn teeth. It took me almost 2 days of travel to get back to Melbourne (the rail system, she is not speedy) and expecting to pop up off my mate’s sofa bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the very next morning to IMMEDIATELY START ALL THE THINGS would be. . .well, idiotically naive to the point of delusional, really.
A short while back, the founder of Australian Girls in Gi(if you’re a woman practicing Jiujitsu in Australia, get in on this awesomeness) posted a before and after (training Brazilian Jiujitsu [BJJ]) pic of herself that prompted a very moving thread in the group’s Facebook forum. In it, a large number of women came forwards with their stories; of how BJJ had helped them in battles against everything from anxiety to overcoming childhood trauma to adult hardships like difficulty conceiving. It was inspiring to have so many women come forth to speak openly about their issues, insecurities and the ways in which they were battling them to create healthier, happier lives for themselves.
Inspirational: She is it.
But a weird thing happened upon reading it. At the same time I felt inspired, I also felt very, very depressed.
Because I tried a couple times to add my own contribution. I’m a big fan of sharing openly the things we typically hold inside, whether that hesitance to share comes from a fear of rejection or social conventions we were raised with and just can’t shake off. But each of these gals, even the ones still in the heart of their issues, came across as success stories whereas I was feeling like I was. . .still failing. Continue reading →
My research into Australia prior to arrival may have been lacking in some (read:all) areas, but I did know one very important fact: everything in the country had the ability to kill me. Even the tiny things. Especially the tiny things. Continue reading →
My (I like to think) long-awaited ‘A Vagabond’s Guide to Travel in India’ series is all written and just awaiting upload. And, as a primer, today’s post is a guest post on the most vital aspect of any communication in India – The Indian head tilt, also known as the Indian head wobble.
I would have struggled to sum up what the gesture indicates, but Arthur, who originally wrote the piece for The Listserve lottery, has done a fantastic job. I inquired with him as to whether he minded my passing on his brilliant summation to a few more people, and he happily agreed.
Here then, without further ado, is Arthur:
You just landed in India. You’re a bit stressed: it’s absolutely normal. But let me just tell you a simple thing, and everything will go just fine. In a matter of days, the Indian in you will be fully awakened.
The short version of this guide is simply, ‘don’t’. But, for those of you not dissuaded by cautionary warnings and sound, informed advice for maintaining your personal safety/sanity, below are some helpful tips I learned from my time on Indian roads.
Firstly, I should point out that I am no expert; not on Indian traffic laws and certainly not on motorcycles. I earned my license the summer prior to leaving for India and had, in total, approximately 4 months of riding experience behind me, gleaned from well paved roads in a quiet corner of Atlantic Canada. My 1984 Honda Magna (aka ‘Michael‘) had been just temperamental enough that I was familiar with stalling in public, how to get a bike going off a rolling start, and what it felt like to find out your ‘fuel low’ light doesn’t work by running out of gas 30 km shy of the middle of nowhere.
My advice will be (as all advice is, really) specific to my experience, which was riding a 2010 Royal Enfield Bullet Electra (aka ‘Hrithik’), over the course of 2 1/2 months, from the Northern town of Uttarkashi to the Eastern hill station of Darjeeling. I’ll get some actual, practical advice up on things like ‘buying a bike in India’ and ‘repairs along the road’ later as a part of a larger Indian resource post. . . .but, for now, one dozen general pointers for touring India by bike: Continue reading →